Suze Orman's Holiday Buying Guide

"If she wants to give herself a gift .. .this is a big thing for her," Orman told us, before turning back to Rodriguez. "We're not buying jewelry. We need shoes and we need a dress. So as you walk through, here's your financial mantra: We'll try it together, here. Just keep trying this: Look at the windows and you're gonna say, 'Do I need that? Or do I want that?'"

"So you know what Suze Orman would say to you? She is 'Approved!' Girlfriend, have a good time." And with Orman's blessing, Rodriguez left to get herself a gift.

Orman Dishes Free Money Advice

Walking around the mall, Orman was in her element -- dispensing financial advice to anyone and everyone.

Tom Shirley, an unemployed construction manager who's been working through the Obama administration's "Making Home Affordable" program, stopped by for some free advice on how to keep his house. He told Orman that to provide for his wife, he's living off unemployment benefits and his 401(k).

Orman reprimanded him for dipping into his retirement plan so early.

"You may have to claim bankruptcy, and in the meantime, you're taking money out of 401(k) to pay off bills that you may end up not being able to fix ... 401(k) money is protected against bankruptcy. You are not to take another penny out of 401(k). ... Your 401(k) is your future, not your present," Orman told him.

Orman's Cost-Cutting Measures for Homeowner

After telling him to think outside his comfort zone and get a job -- any job -- Orman also suggested some cost-cutting measures that may not occur to people.

"If [your] house is worth less than [your] mortgage, contact the property tax division and see if you can get an adjustment [on your property tax], and contact the insurance people, to raise your deductibles," she said.

She told him he might be over-insuring the house if it's now worth less, and he may be paying too much in property tax, based on the previous value of the house.

"I feel good. I'm going to look for a job," Shirley told us after the free consultation. He said he didn't realize he could modify his property tax and insurance, based on the home's current value. "That's good advice," he said.

Next up was Ira. His question was almost guaranteed to generate a patented "Suze Smackdown."

The recently-engaged 59-year-old asked if he should give in to his finance's request for her $50,000 dream wedding. After living together for 20 years, the two have been engaged for a few months, but Ira said he was hesitant.

"My question is, is that I really would prefer a small intimate wedding and she wants this big fairy-tale wedding and I know that big fairy-tale weddings are extremely costly," Ira said, estimating that the wedding his fiancee wants would cost between $50,000 and $60,000. "Because she's telling me that everybody wants to see her get married."

Orman pounced. "Does that make you question your decision to marry her?" she asked.

"It does," he said. "It's affecting our relationship and now we're talking about not getting married."

"Listen very closely now," she told him. "That is an indication you need to think about this."

"I don't believe in wasting 50k," he said.

"I'm right there with you," Orman added.

But will Ira's finance listen to Suze's advice?

"I have no idea," he said. "We shall see."

Ira said that Orman's gift this season was about financial responsibility.

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